Saturday, June 23, 2012

Big Dreams

There are three bodies sprawled across our bedroom floor tonight.  One is not here because he is far away, and one is taking advantage of a very quiet bedroom with his 2 brothers leaving him alone! Haha!  The girls and Josh are here, with Josh and Olesya saying "We only have tonight and will be gone a week, can we please sleep in your room?" and Angela not wanting to be left out.

It was a beautiful day all the way around today, even if it was not all that exciting by many people's standards.  Matthew arrived at the Air Force Academy with plenty of time to spare, after teasing about his "hearty breakfast" at McDonald's! He was so cute, dressed in his BDU's (camo to those uninitiated) and patting the seat next to him saying "Sit next to me Mom!".  We ate, we talked, we joked and I sat there a bit in wonder at the young man next to me.  He is quieter than the other 4 kids, and some would call him shy but he really is just self-contained.

We talked about his future a little and I asked if he would ever be interested in a career in the military, if that were even possible for him with his physical limitations.  He said "Maybe, and I guess this will be a good way to find out.  But I am pretty sure now that I don't want to do engineering.  The higher I go in math, the more I realize I am not great at it and I don't like it all that much.  I might change my mind when I get to geometry because I think that will be one part of math I'll be good at.  But I am thinking more and more about computers, I really like them a lot and kind of get lost in them when I am working with them.  I might be able to do that for the military or a contractor or something and still be connected with it even if I can't be in it."  I asked him if he was nervous about Encampment, and he grinned the cutest grin and said "I think it might be a good thing that I am ignorant about what is ahead this week...I am not nervous at all because I don't know what to be nervous about!"

When we arrived at the Academy, he got his first real taste of military life....hurry up and wait.  We stood in line for a very long time, over an hour, as they processed cadets.  Then they inspected him and told him that his hair was too long and he needed to go to the Academy barber shop to get it trimmed more.  He was not alone, as about 1/3rd of the cadets ended up in there!  The funny thing is that you all know from his pictures that Matt already keeps his hair pretty short, and I cut it before we left yesterday even shorter than he has ever had it...t was using a #2 on the clippers!  But it was deemed a tad too long above his ears, so off we went, laughing over it.  Then back in line, where we stood another 45 minutes or so.  Matthew was, from what I could tell, one of the most senior young cadets there.  Many were quite a bit older and only had two rank advancements.  In fact, I didn't see a single cadet attending (not running the camp) who was as advanced as Matthew was.  He just completed his 5th rank advancement in less than a single year, a huge accomplishment and something that shows how very hard he has worked.  Cadet Staff Sergeant LaJoy is in for a terrific week, I think!

It was interesting to observe how many parents were hanging on to their sons, and how many sons were shrugging them off.  These were mostly 12-16 year old young men, most of whom quickly turned and walked away from their parents when their name was called.  As we drew closer and there were just a cadet or two in front of us, Matthew turned to me and said "Mom, thanks so much for all you and Daddy did to get me here.  I know it cost a lot, and then you had to drive over and then drive back next week.  Thank you for helping me to come."  Then he gave me a big old hug, unabashed in his love.  I am not sure what made me prouder, that he was there living out a dream of his long held since he was 5 years old, or that he was man enough to not care what others thought and showed affection for his mom.  Both took courage...

The drive home was long and introspective for me.  I thought I might get a little teary at saying goodbye to him, for this is a really big deal in his life.  Instead, all I felt was excitement for him, as I recalled our earliest stop at the Academy on our way to his very first year at church camp.  They are two off ramps apart from each other, and both are places he treasures.  Although I am really feeling the passage of time these days as the kids grow older and more independent, it is a fascinating journey, and also sort of gratifying to see them begin to reach for their dreams.  All I though as I pulled away was "Good for you, Matt!  You did it!".  It is so important for us to remember that we are not raising children, we are raising adults and the best way to remain closest with them is to be their greatest ally as they step out into the world.

I pulled into the driveway as 4 other kiddos were rushing out to greet me.  What a nice reward THAT is after a long drive!  There were questions galore about Matthew and his camp.  There was dinner on the stove, and a clean house awaiting me, what more could a road weary mom ask for?  It was a really hot afternoon, and on a whim I decided to get in the pool, something I don't normally do because it is too stinkin' cold for me.  But we bought one of those solar plastic bubble wrap type covers for it, and I checked it out and the water felt a little warmer than last summer's frozen water.  Now, my fat old body doesn't do bathing suits well at all, and while I have once in awhile gone in the public pool with the kids, I am really uncomfortable doing so, for obvious reasons.  And yea, I know I could do something about that and maybe one day I will, but I haven't had time for the continual self-loathing that I had to put aside to be emotionally there for the kids.  Oh, did it feel SO nice this afternoon!  The kids were thrilled as Dominick and I both got in and played with them, tossing them around, giving them piggy back rides and just enjoying being together. We were in there for a couple of hours, and then got out and ate dinner, watched a movie, and got ready for bed.

It was my idea of bliss, and I think it was for the kids as well. What a wonderful thing contentment is!  I realized sitting there in our silly backyard pool, Kenny my personal Cabana Boy bringing me my towel, Olesya with a water pitcher in hand...we are so lucky to have the kids we have, who know contentment, who are so easily amused and happy with anything at all.  We all have big dreams together, and individually.  We may achieve them or we may not, but we will be happy either way...all of us.

The coming week will be odd and interesting, as we have just Angela and Kenny home alone until Thursday afternoon when Josh and Olesya will return.  Those two are unexpectedly two peas in a pod, and it will be a total kick to have them as our "only's" for a few days. They are both delighted over it, even though each has said it will be too quiet as well.  Dominick and I are looking forward to maybe doing something special with them, maybe a real movie at the movie theater, or dinner out since we can more easily afford it as a treat when we are down to just a couple kids.  No doubt we will have some interesting conversations with them!

And yes, the house will definitely be a little too empty.  Funny, but five no longer seems like "a lot" of kids.  And no, don't read anything into that as there is no additional adoption on the horizon at all, we are maxed out.  But I was just thinking how at first the idea of five kids was " can't even fathom that!". and now I could totally see being Carrie and Bob Delille with 11 kids, if only we were in the circumstance to afford them.  Even the kids have said "We could do one or two more kids!", which although we won't be doing makes my heart swell to know they would be willing to make room for more in our family.  But Joshua added "They'd have to be the right kids though, Mom, because you pick 'em good!" Haha!  That one really made me laugh.  But I do love the full house, I know we are so, so blessed to have the children we have, and  I am very glad we didn't stop at one or two, even if the Walmart receipt at times makes me gasp openly.

I have blogged a lot the past few days, not that I have had anything of interest to say!  Time to turn off the light and get ready to say goodbye to Josh and Olesya in the morning.  The true babies of the family are flying the coop!


Anonymous said...

"I have blogged a lot in the last few days, not that I have anything of interest to say!"

You are terrific at supporting the positives in the children, in Dominick, in friends and family. Please, please, please, Cindy, begin to be as kind and supportive of yourself as you are of others. Believe what others tell you about yourself--that you are bright, funny, compassionate, loving, vitally alive, spiritually shining, erudite (I'll look it up later to see if it means what I think it means), creative (don't groan, creativity comes in many guises), a sterling wife and mother. I could go on, but that's enough to work on for now.

You have 301,776 hits on your blog. That's not 301,776 individuals who tried it once and went on to something else because this wasn't interesting. It's because some of us find it heartwarming, loving, eye-opening, intelligent, and creating vistas into love.

I don't want to censor what you write. If you are feeling that way, write it, but if you write it, I will remind you that there are seven delightful LaJoys, each with something to contribute to the life of others.

I love you--each and every one of you,

Anonymous said...

Cha-ching! Computers, Matthew? We gotcha covered baby! Tell us when he is ready and we can get him started on learning a bit more about how things work...

Doing a happy dance here in the Front Range!


Carrie DeLille said...

First of all, I cried at your highlighted part and just think about where this sweet little ex-orphan's life has brought him...into an absolutely wonderfully, darn-near perfect family!
Second of all, isn't it fun to mix up the dynamics when some of the children are missing? I LOVE to see the relationships between the different kids and how they relate when some are missing.
Third of all, never say never....I think we have at least 3 or 4 times :o). God has provided in the past, and he just might in the future as well!